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Uber, Ola & Meru Use Odd-even Opportunity To Launch Cab-sharing Service In Delhi
The government plans to run a pilot for the odd-even rule in the first two weeks in January and will review its impact before making it mandatory. The project has been criticised by many for being a knee jerk reaction to solve the problem of pollution in the capita
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Beginning January 2016, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has proposed a radical move to reduce the alarming pollution level in Delhi by restricting the number of private cars on the road. He has proposed the odd-even rule whereby private cars with odd and and even numbers in licence plates will be allowed to ply on roads on alternate days.
But such initiatives can’t be successful unless the government gets support from the public and private players as well. A number of private cab aggregators and taxi companies have chipped in by providing car pooling and cab sharing services to keep the number of private vehicles on the road in check.
“Car sharing services can reduce the over-all need of cars in the cities by at least 50 per cent, as per global averages, and they can also solve the problem in the long term,” says Sakshi Vij, executive director of car rental company Carzonrent that has radio taxi service EasyCabs.
San Francisco based taxi hailing app Uber will launch its ride sharing service uberPOOL for commercial and private vehicles in Delhi next week, a source informed Businessworld.
Uber had launched this service in Bangalore in September this year for commercial vehicles only. This services allows users to share the cab fare with another passenger who happens to be requesting for a cab service along the similar route by sharing the ride together.
By extending this service to private vehicles in Delhi, Uber will enable the private car owners to find fellow commuters travelling along the similar route. “With the government’s plan to restrict private vehicles on the road, there can’t be a better opportunity than this to launch a new service,” said the source from Uber who didn’t want to be identified.
Along similar lines, radio taxi provider Meru cabs, which allows car pooling for private vehicles through its app, will also launch ride sharing for its cab services next month.
“We are expecting the rise in demand for cabs by almost 30 per cent,” said Siddhartha Pahwa, founder CEO of radio taxi provider Meru cabs. If the passenger uses the ride sharing option, they will have to pay only 65 per cent of the total fare. “To promote this service, even if the passenger doesn’t find the fellow co-rider, they will still pay 65 per cent only and the rest of the fare will be reimbursed by the company to the driver, said Pahwa.
“This will be our bit to reduce congestion and pollution level in the country,”Pahwa added.
In September, taxi aggregator Ola had launched the minibus service, Ola Shuttle in Gurgaon and Noida wherein users can reserve their seat in the shuttle from the app. They also had a feature ‘Suggest a route’ through which have crowdsourced over 100 routes in NCR and will extend these services as the odd-even rule gets implemented.
The government plans to run a pilot for the first two weeks in January and will review its impact before making it mandatory. The project has been criticised by many for being a knee jerk reaction to solve the problem of pollution in the capital. However, the alacrity which with these private cab aggregators and taxi providers are firming up plans to make the rule a success is commendable and shows the agility with which these startups respond to the changing ecosystem around them. Perhaps, if the government had shown such swiftness earlier, the country’s pollution level wouldn’t have reached such alarming levels!